Mary Ann McSweeney was born in Aptos, California. She started playing piano at the age of five and then began studying the violin at age 8. In high school she fell in love with the acoustic bass while watching Ray Brown perform at the Concord Jazz Festival. She was chosen to play at the Monterey Jazz Festival at age 16 with the All Star band fronted by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis.
McSweeney has played with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie, Joanne Brackeen and Lee Konitz, Gil Goldstein and Bucky Pizzarelli, and played for famous conductors, Leonard Bernstein, Lalo Schifrin, and John Williams. She has performed with Renee Rosness, Vic Juris, Ken Peplowski, Dennis Mackrel, Lewis Nash and Larry Goldings. Mary Ann performed with the Maiden Voyage and Diva Big Bands and performed with her quintet at the Sexial Jazz Festival in Portugal and the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival at the Kennedy Center.
Ms. McSweeney arranged for and recorded with Warner Bros. Artist, Lea Delaria. She toured Europe and performed with David Krakouer’s Klezmer Madness and three time Tony award winning vocalist Audra McDonald. Her orchestrations can be heard on Chita Rivera’s new Cd entitled “Now I Swing.” Her original music can be heard on the webisode about the making of the new show “Allegiance,” which features George Takei.
Along with being full time professional bassist in New York City, McSweeney is on the faculty for the Middle School Jazz Academy at Lincoln Center and the New York Jazz Workshop. She has been working also working with the Fordham Business school in helping facilitate workshops for business students from Turkey, South Africa, China and the Europe.
She recently recorded with award winning jazz baritonist, Claire Daly, on the “Baritone Monk” CD which hit the top 10 on the jazz charts in 2014. She has performed at the White House with the Eli Yamin Quintet for a special event. She has been the musical director/arranger for a three shows at Birdland in New York City featuring Jane Monheit. The program’s included selections from the Cole Porter musical, “Anything Goes,” and a tribute to Irving Berlin.
In May of 2015 she was invited to play for the Gala at the Kennedy Center with a big band conducted by John Clayton with Jeff Hamilton on drums. The artists were Jennifer Holliday, The Puppini Sisters, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Megan Hilty and Cheyenne Jackson.
She is Currently on a leave of absence from the Tony Award Winning Show of 2014 “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” to tour in South Africa and Ghana performing with world jazz artist Nana Simopoulos.